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This past December, I visited Vienna for the third time. With every returning visit I still manage to discover new things about this city and I fall in love with it a little bit more. I have never been in Vienna during the Christmas time and I had so much fun visiting the Christmas markets and seeing Vienna done up in lights. You can read more about the Vienna Christmas markets here.
Now that I’ve been there a couple times, there are definitely things that I must do on each visit. So here you go, my top 10 things to do when in Vienna. I realize a lot of these are food related, but for me a well fed holiday is a fantastic holiday.
No visit to Vienna is complete without a visit to this magnificent palace. The gardens are a must. My favourite view of the palace is from behind the Neptune fountain. Also, make sure you walk all the way up to the Gloriette for a view of the palace and surrounding neighbourhood.
Almdudler is the name for an Austrian soft drink developed in the 1950s, and is sometimes referred to as the “national drink of Austria”. Almdudler is the second most popular soft drink in Austria after Coca-Cola. The original Almdudler is made of water, sugar and herbs.
3. See the Hundertwasserhaus
I love the quirkiness of this place. Its a little bit further away from the majority of sites in Vienna, but I think its worth the visit. The explosion of colour and little details make each visit unique. Every time I go, I noticed something new and interesting about the building and visitor centre across the way.
4. Sacher Torte
You’ll see these cakes available everywhere in Vienna. I wasn’t sure why people were so fascinated by this cake, but I think it is a combination of the cake’s history and the secrecy behind the recipe. The “Original Sacher Torte” can only be purchased at the Hotel Sacher in Vienna, and a few other locations associated with the name Sacher in other cities. Anything else that claims to be a Sacher Torte is an interpretation as the recipe for this cake is a heavily guarded secret.
I’ve had the cake at the hotel and I found it to be under whelming. It was so dry and had so little flavour. It did not live up to the hype at all. I have no idea why people like it. This time around, I had an imitation Sacher torte and it was much tastier and sweeter.
5. Walk along the Ring Road
The major tourist attractions and the centre of Vienna is surrounded by an outer ring road called Ringstrasse. It surrounds the Innere Stadt district of Vienna. A leisurely walk along this road would lead you to see the Vienna Opera House, Hofburg Palace, Parliament, Rathaus, Museum Quarter, Burgtheater and the University Building.
For more photos of what you can see on your walk around the Ring Road, check out my previous visit to Vienna.
6. Weiner Schnitzel at Figlmuller
A must visit on every visit. The schnitzel here is massive and so good! Its not dry like other places that I’ve tried and much thinner. Make sure you get the potato salad. Normally I get one schnitzel to share with a friend and my own side salad.
7. Lunch at the Naschmarkt
For a cheap and quick lunch head to the Naschmarkt. Pick up some bread, cheese and meat and have a picnic in a nearby park. Even if you aren’t picking up lunch, a visit to the Naschmarkt is still fun. You can see all the different spices, foods and merchants available. On Saturdays there is a flea market if you’re interested in purchasing some gifts.
Note: prices are more reasonable on the Kettenbrückengasse end compared to the Karlsplatz end. Also, less tourists.
8. Chasing Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria. The house where he lived as a child is open to tourist, but if you are unable to get to Salzburg, MSozart also lived in Vienna and you can visit his flat located just behind St. Stephensdom, which is now a museum dedicated to him and his music.
To complete the adventure, you can visit the gravesite where Mozart was buried. Unfortunately, he was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in St. Marx and its exact location has not been located. Instead, there is a monument erected in his honour in the cemetery.
Plus, if you love music and sound, definitely check out Haus der Musik. I loved this museum. Its very interactive and a whole lot of fun.
9. Pork Knuckle at Salm Brau
Salm Brau is a restaurant and brewery on the edge of the Belvedere grounds. Go and try their beer, which is brewed in house, and to taste their pork knuckle. It was so delicious. I can still remember how easily it flaked off the bone and deliciously tender it was. It goes perfect with the mustard that is served with it.
10. Watch an Opera
Where else can you watch a world class opera for 3 Euros? Yes, you have to stand. Yes, you’re in the back. But its 3 Euros! Plus you can see the inside of the opera house which is so gorgeous! These standing room tickets are available only on the day of the performance and not from the main ticket office either. Tickets go on sale about 90 minutes before the performance from a side door off of Operngasse. Usually the line for the tickets starts fairly early. For further details on the process, read this guide on TripAdvisor.
The performance was long, but it was such a cool experience and one that I would definitely recommend for anyone.
And those are my top 10 things to do in Vienna. What are your favourite things to do? Did I miss anything?
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